Even though most people know construction can be dangerous work, many don’t realize just how dangerous it actually is.
For instance, did you know that 71 construction workers died in New York alone in 2016 (the most recent year for which data is available)? This was the highest death total in 16 years, according to a report issued earlier this year by the New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health (NYCOSH).
While this statistic is already alarming, things get even worse when you compare the number of deaths in construction to other professions.
One in five workplace deaths involve construction workers
According to the most recent numbers provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), a unit of the U.S. Department of Labor, there were 4,693 workers killed in private industries throughout the United States in 2016.
While this fatality total spans several professions — including agriculture, manufacturing and mining, just to name a few — the construction industry accounted for more deaths than any other individual profession.
In fact, of the 4,693 workers killed, 991 — or 21.1 percent — were working in construction. This means that one out of every five workers killed that year were construction workers.
So, while any job can be dangerous given the right circumstances, we should always remember that construction workers routinely face hazards more dangerous than those faced in virtually every other profession. This is simply one reason why construction workers account for more than 20 percent of all work-related deaths in the U.S.